Published on 2013/09/27

Non-Traditional Students Creating Communities

More and more adults are enrolling at higher education institutions nationwide, but many campuses are still geared toward 18-22 year old, residential students.

Rather than wait for the institution to create a space for them, some non-traditional learners are taking it upon themselves to foster supportive communities to help support the success of other adults at their institution.  So far this semester, a number of non-traditional student groups have sprung up, created by adult learners.

This week at Western Kentucky University (WKU), adult learners banded together to form The Non-Traditional Student Alliance. Struggling with the idea that being an adult set him apart from his traditional-aged peers, William Vest, a student at WKU, formed the group to help advocate for the needs of non-traditional students.

“I never felt like an outsider until I came back to college,” Vest told the College Heights Herald.

According to John Hart, interim director of adult learner services at WKU, a survey released in the spring indicated that non-traditional students are interested in meeting similar students, but they are unable to devote the time and resources to accomplish this independently.

Further south in Florida, another non-traditional student group was formed this fall at Seminole State College by students Shannon Conner and Monica Webb, two adult learners looking for camaraderie.

“I saw a need for non-traditional students to come together and help each other out,” Conner told The Seminole Voice.

Neither of these  groups require fees from participating students and both were created as a way to form a community for other adult learners to come together and share experiences and stories.

“We need to be a lot more social,” Webb, told The Seminole Voice. “We need an outlet to get together.”

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